Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
With the 2020-21 NBA season approaching, the league is reportedly putting plans in place for how it will test for COVID-19 while playing during a pandemic without a bubble-like environment.
According to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic, the NBA will use a “daily point-of-care, rapid testing system” that will provide results in around 30 minutes for the home team and 90 minutes for the road team prior to games.
This comes after the NBA reportedly gave teams a 158-page health and safety guide for the season.
On Saturday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the rules include restrictions on where players can go and bans them from entering facilities such as bars, clubs, gaming venues and public gyms or attending large indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people.
Wojnarowski also reported the league will have twice-a-week testing for household members of players and staff in an effort to “enhance their protection throughout the season.”
According to Charania, the NBA will discuss requiring players and staff to have a vaccine if one is readily available, safe and effective during the season.
The season is slated to begin on Dec. 22, and positive COVID-19 tests will almost surely be a storyline for much of it. After all, it has been a massive storyline in the NFL, college football and college basketball, among other sports, and has led to the cancellation of many games at the collegiate level.
The NBA was able to avoid such issues when it finished its 2019-20 season inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble and had zero positive cases as it completed seeding games and the playoffs inside a controlled environment.
That surely will not be the case with teams playing in their home markets, although the rapid-result tests could help the league control any potential outbreaks.